“Sing! China” Broadcaster Issues Statement Days After Allegations Coco Lee Was Bullied on Their Show, Netizens Angry Over Lack of Apology [UPDATE]

Coco Lee
Coco Lee on Sing! China
Photo: 凤凰网娱乐/ Weibo

Was Coco Lee humiliated and subjected to bullying on Sing! China 中国好声音? That seems to be the case if the recording allegedly of the late singer which has recently gone viral on Chinese social media is to be believed. In 2022, there were already reports that the singer lost cool at Sing! China after her mentees on the show were eliminated despite having higher scores due to a sudden change in contest rules, which put her contestant up for elimination simply because they had fewer people compared to other teams. “Your contestant with the lowest 73 points, that person was given another chance to compete whilst my mentee with 88.3 points wasn’t” she protested very emotionally. Although she later clarified “all was well” between herself and show, it seems now that the situation was far worse than she let on.

“This is Called Bullying”

In the nine minute audio recording supposedly of the late pop diva which surfaced on August 17, Coco can be heard lamenting show producers’ subsequent poor treatment of her after the Hong Kong – American pop diva voiced out concerns about the show’s elimination system which she thought was unfair. She said that aides of the director threatened to call security and told her to leave, at one point even going so far as to grab her and pulling her offstage.

What’s more, Coco found the show’s inconsideration of her condition to be very humiliating. In past interviews, Coco admitted that she’d always had an issue with her left leg. This meant she couldn’t stand in super high heels for a prolonged period of time. She said the show’s production agreed with her request to have Wang Zepeng 王泽鹏 (one of her mentees on the show) stand next to her so that she didn’t have to appear in crutches or in a wheelchair. However, she said when they filmed the segment, production told him to walk off to the other side, which allegedly caused her to fall. A tearful Coco asked “has anyone thought about my feelings?” After almost three decades as a singer, only to be humiliated like that. “This is called bullying. Did anyone care about my feelings? How can they let me suffer like this?

Coco said her doctors had actually advised her against doing the show since she was suffering from breast cancer at the time yet she decided to sacrifice her health and mentor the kids for the love of music. Meanwhile, when asked for a comment, Coco’s eldest sister Carol said Coco already said everything there was to say about the situation in the recording and that there’s nothing for them to say any further.

Netizens are Angry

Sing! China statement
Sing! China Statement on the alleged voice recording of Coco Lee

With the issue gathering momentum online, Sing! China responded the night of August 17 to say that the audio clip was “maliciously edited” and that it was disrespectful towards the late diva’s memory. Adding that the recording “seriously damaged the program’s image”, they said they will no longer provide explanations out of respect for Coco. Whatever they intended with the statement, fans and Netizens didn’t seem to be buying it. In fact, many are angry. Not just about how poorly the show handled the allegations and acting like nothing happened with the current season still airing as usual but also angry that no one in the industry spoke up about the situation at the time. Furthermore, the first contestant who actually spoke up, saw her post deleted. She also issued an apology afterwards.

Since then, a few more contestants have also come forward including people Coco mentored on the show as well as other celebs. Industry veterans like Jenny Tseng (甄妮), Jin Xing (金星) and Han Hong (韩红) have all shared messages of support for the late singer. Jenny in particular also called out the show’s other mentors saying they insulted their profession for the sake of fame and fortune.

Sing! China Broadcaster Finally Issues Statement

Sing! China Broadcaster Finally Issues Statement
zrtg.com Statement

Meanwhile, Sing! China broadcaster Zhejiang TV has finally released a statement on their website saying they’re looking into the matter. In a letter to Sing! China viewers and friends, they wrote:

Recently, Zhejiang Media Group ZMG (浙江广播电视集团) has noticed that viewers and netizens have put forward many opinions and suggestions on Sing! China. We will listen carefully and urge the show’s producers to improve their work. We would like to express gratitude to everyone for their continuous support. Since the Sing! China program started broadcasting in July 2012, there have been 23 instructors and nearly a thousand students that have taken the stage. Their dedication and the audience’s support have accompanied this program along the way.

Teacher Coco Lee is among them, a good mentor and a good singer worth remembering. We are aware that the program has encountered some problems, and there is still a gap from everyone’s expectations. Zhejiang Satellite TV has the responsibility and obligation to strengthen the supervision of the program, and perform well the duties of a broadcasting platform. At the same time, they urge the show’s producer Shanghai Chanxing Media (上海灿星文化传媒股份有限公司) to listen to everyone’s opinions carefully, and effectively maintain fairness and justice in the program production, so that every participant is respected. In response to the issue that everyone is concerned about, ZMG will maintains a responsible attitude in the investigation. And sincerely welcome the supervision of the audience and netizens. Thank you again.

Zhejiang Media Group
August 20, 2023

Where’s The Apology?

Many Netizens are not satisfied with the statement due to the noticeable lack of apology or admission of wrongdoing given how the broadcaster intends to take a supervisory role in investigation. Some even went on to dissect its meaning as the statement also enumerated the late singer being one of so many people who have participated on the long-running show. There was also no stamp on the statement, which is often seen on official documents. Meanwhile, Netizens are reminded of Godfrey Gao who died while filming a show that was also aired by the same broadcast network.

Update Aug 25: Sing! China announced that broadcast has been suspended and that the problems are being investigated.

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